from Part 8


                         ... I do not aspire
       To be the highest in thy quire,
       To be a meteor in the sky
       Or comet that may range on high,
       Only a zephyr that may blow 
       Among the reeds by the river low.
                                      — Henry Thoreau
The rivers have been left behind.
And cement walks. And windows
on fire escapes. And the tar roof

of the building opposite, where pigeons
cooed through the afternoon as if
their waddle was all we needed 

to know about getting places that
blew green with pollen. We are here
at last, with acres of trees wending 

down a hill, the nearest verge of weeds
just a temporary halt to amazement,
our first house rising between two driveways

like something emerged from the deep,
its roof still damp with underground, 
its brick sides like scales, its history of

former lives smudged on its inner
walls, its bright kitchen all function
and red formica, its bedrooms a kind of

tuck beneath the eaves, and from that height 
we look into the shadows of Douglas firs
and Norwegian spruce, our futures caught

on the sharp edges of cones that so easily cut.
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
Contents | A Common Year